Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Drawing Near

“How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You, to dwell in your courts…..” Psalm 65:4

I recently found myself sitting on the couch in my den and having a conversation with the Lord….out loud. There have been times in the past when I have prayed in an audible voice, and not silently, but this time it seemed much different. I spoke with Him as if He were my own private counselor, sitting right across from me on the other side of the table. Yet, isn’t that one of His glorious names, Wonderful Counselor?

My sisters, isn’t prayer always supposed to feel like that? We have an audience with the Mighty Creator of the universe, and as we share what’s on our hearts with Him, we can tell Him anything (and I do mean ANYTHING), and it will not be conveyed to another living soul! How awesome is that!

On this particular occasion there were some things I desperately needed to share with Him, so I did just that, for almost an hour. What a cleansing experience that was! Since He is omniscient and always knows what we will say, think, or do at any given moment, He still invites us to draw near to have that intimate, sweet fellowship with Him. Of course, the challenge is not to do all the talking. That morning when I spoke with my Father, He spoke back to me…….through His precious Word!

The Lord is always with us. He promised us in the Old Testament that He would never leave nor forsake us (Duet 31:6), and He echoes that same promise in the New Testament , that He will always stand by us (Hebrews 13:5). Also, when we talk with Him, aren’t we supposed to see Him with our spiritual eyes, as if our Lord is sitting in the chair right next to us or right in front of us? He is ALWAYS there, but the busyness of life sometimes keeps us from realizing this marvelous promise that He is near.

In Lamentations 2:19, the writer tells us to, “….pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord….” I did exactly that on that memorable morning. What about you? Is there something burdening your heart or mind that you need to pour out before the Lord? He wants us to come close and experience His faithfulness and goodness each and every day!

Yes, we are truly blessed as the psalmist says in Psalm 65:4 when He chooses us to be a part of His adopted family, and draws us near by the blood of Christ our Savior. Because of His boundless grace and mercy found in Christ, we WILL forever dwell in His courts.

Won’t you draw near today?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bucket List #2

Whewwww.  One of our deacons in our church has been going through a nasty divorce for exactly three and a half years.  It has been a LONG JOURNEY.  I say long journey because, not only have we tried to be there for him......he has had us subpoenaed numerous times during the three and half years.  (This was NOT something that we willingly participated in.  We told him that we were not comfortable, but for some reason he felt that we could help his case.)

It has been such a long journey partly because the deacon had been married before and he and his first wife had a son, who is now grown.  His first wife got very sick and died.  He remarried and had two children with wife #2.

The divorce was with wife #2.  Neither party could agree on ANYTHING.  They could not agree with who got what, etc.

We got our court papers this week that told us to appear at the courthouse at 9:00 on Thursday, July 23rd and that this would be the final trial to grant the divorce.

Their trial took a little over four hours.  We were asked to sit outside the courtroom because we were witnesses.

Finally, after a brief break, they went back into session.  Then, Roger was called to testify, which took about ten minutes.  As soon as he left, I was called to testify.  I was scared to death................but it was not near as bad has I had anticipated.  It was over quickly and I got to leave.

Fifteen minutes later.......the judge walked out of the courtroom, followed by the lawyers and everyone else.  (Our fear was that it was to be continued.........we were already so tired of this journey.)

BUT....it was OVER!  The divorce had been granted.  They could not agree on anything, so the judge TOLD them what they would do.

It's OVER!!!  No more dreading going to the door in fear of another summons to court.  It's OVER!!!

For the second time this summer...........I had a first.  
  • First - road the kayak. 
  • Second - testified in real live court, under oath.

    Two things to mark off my bucket list that was NEVER even on it.  Smile.
I guess the moral to the story is.........You BETTER......... unlike me....... MAKE a BUCKET LIST...........or you will begin experiencing "FIRSTS" that you did not plan.  LOL.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Don't Give Up

We never have a very big garden, but we do try to plant a few things.  This year, because it kept raining, we were late getting our garden out.  Then it rained some more and washed the seeds away.  We were just about ready to give up and plow it up again and call it quits.................then suddenly, slowly but surely some of the things began to grow.

I was able to can one canning of beans and we had several messes of them.  If the ground will ever dry up enough, I am sure I will probably have at least one more canning.

Not a lot of beans.  But, we have beans left from last year, so God is only giving us what we need.

I have canned tomatoes, squash relish, and salsa.  I have also froze squash and okra.

The little garden spot that we were close to giving up on, has provided us with tomatoes, beans, squash, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, potatoes and more.  What a blessing it is to pick fresh produce and prepare it for later by canning or freezing.  I LOVE it.  I think I've mentioned before...........one of my all time favorite sounds is the "pop" of a can sealing.

Look what joy I would have missed and what a blessing my family would have missed had we "given up" earlier.

Have we ever been guilty of giving up and throwing the towel in .......on people?  People we thought we were wasting our times on?  Sometimes it just takes TIME and PATIENCE to see God's work.


The end results are worth the wait......


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list?  I don't think I have ever slowed down long enough to make one. I enjoy hearing about everyone else's bucket lists though.

Back in May, Roger and I went "tent-camping" with out son and daughter-in-law.  (We use to go often when the kids were growing up, but it's been twenty plus years since we have tent-camped.)  We had long gotten rid of the tents that had not just dry-rotted, so we took our son's two man pop-up tent and an air mattress.  ;)

It wound up and rained most of the time we were there, but we enjoyed it very much.  There is nothing like cooking over the fire....even between the rain.

Our son and daughter-in-law own kayaks and really enjoy it.  I, personally am terrified of them.  I do not like flat-bottom boats, canoes or anything like that.  However, our son and daughter-in-law decided to rent them kayaks and while they were at it they rented us one a piece also.  

To risk being a party-pooper, I decided I would "pull up my big girl panties" and try it.  We wound up and went the entire six miles down the Obey River.  Did I mention that mid-way it came two VERY HARD down-pours, while we were in our individual kayaks?

Actually when I finally sat back and relaxed, it was very enjoyable an relaxing (except for the times we had to paddle.....)

No one thought I could do it or would do it.  Not only am I terrified.......I am not athletic at all.

When we got back to the camp ground, I had a feeling of accomplishment.  It felt good.  I did it.  I kayaked the entire six miles down the Obey River by myself.

I even told my family that if it had been on my bucket list, I could mark it off, but I never knew I wanted to ride a kayak so it was never even there.  smile.


How many times in our Christian lives do we miss the opportunity to feel good and feel accomplished............because we are afraid? 

What blessings are we missing because we fail to "pull up our big girl panties" and allow ourselves to be used of God?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You Will Never Have This Day Again

I am posting this BECAUSE.....thirteen years ago I went back to work, when our son was in the 8th grade and our daughter was a senior.  (Roger works from home, so he was there for them if need be.)

Anyway, in the years that I have gone back to work, it is hard to "keep up" with EVERYTHING.  So....during the summer or during the breaks, that is when I would take the time to do some major cleaning, sorting and arranging......and boy, did it need it.  (It is hard being almost "60" and to work all day......never be at home at night because you are doing church work or visiting kids and grand-kids....)

I am a teacher so my last day of school was May 26th.  I love teaching, but I also enjoy being at home.  My first day back to school will be July 28th.  Where did the summer go?  What happened to it?

Did I get deep cleaning done like cabinets, or closets, or the study, or the pantry, or the laundry room. NEGATIVE!

I sat back this past week and thought to myself.............what is wrong with me?  Why did I not get everything done?

My conclustion was..........Because...........every second I could, I was visiting grand-kids, going somewhere with mom & grand-kids or keeping grand-kids.  I got to spend lots of quality and quantity time with them this summer.  Being one and a half and two and a half, they are old enough to "ask" to spend the night with Mimi and Grandaddy.  It melts my heart.

I would have liked to have gotten some of the deep cleaning done, but do I regret choosing the grand-kids instead?  NOT ONE BIT!  The house will be here tomorrow........the kids grow way too fast.

I plan to enjoy the moment and cherish all of the time I get to have.  If I have not learned anything else in my almost 59 years, it it............Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!!!  Enjoy that time with your children or grand-children.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Homecoming

Roger was asked by a Bi-Vo Friend that we had met seven years ago at the Bi-Vo Retreat to preach at his church's Homecoming last Sunday.  We live 30+ miles north of Chattanooga.  This homecoming church was in Lincoln Co., TN, which is southern middle TN..............and it happens to be about 20 minutes from both of our mothers, who live in Alabama.

We were very excited to be able to see our friends and to visit with them at their church.  It was also a wonderful time to visit with both of our moms during the weekend.  (We only live three hours from them, but with both of us working secular jobs and also being Bi-Vocational ministers...........it does not leave much time.)

However, on the way to our moms on Friday, I was telling Roger that I was excited about the entire weekend, but it was kind of strange that the pastor would invite us to Homecoming when that is usually reserved for former pastors, etc.

WOW.....what a surprise!  Upon arriving at the church, we discovered that the pastor's mentoring pastor was "the little boy" that grew up down the road from me years ago.  He, his sister and older brother would ride to church with my parents.  Also, we discovered that the church we were visiting was only 22 years old because it has split from another church...................a church that Roger had lead music in 30 years ago as interim.  Yes....you get the picture now...........we wound up knowing about half of the congregation and even had visitors from our home church that came just to hear Roger.

See, unknown to us and unknown to the church's pastor, God had everything all planned out.  ROGER was perfect for the Homecoming Service..............lots of ties and connections.

A lady about my age came up to me and told me that I probably did not remember her.....but she had talked about me and thought of me often.  She called me the "Worm Lady".  Let me explain...........thirty years ago, I taught the 4 years old at the church Roger was leading the music at during V.B.S.  When she rattled my memory, I still did not remember her, but I remembered her girls and the situation.  She brought her "un-churched" 4 year old twin daughters to that V.B.S.  They were very shy and cried most of the week, so mom stayed with them.  The middle of the week, I brought fishing worms for the kids to play with.  We even brought home our own personal fishing worm, with corn meal to feed to them as pets.  Her girls LOVED it and that was the breaking point.  From that moment on, the girls were all over "Mrs. Kathy".  I had made two friends.  

Shortly after that V.B.S., God moved us on to another church......and what I never knew was that because the girls loved V.B.S., their parents got back in church and today, dad is one of the deacons of the church we were visitors at last Sunday and the girls are now 34 years old.  Mom said that over the years their testimony has been that they were in church because of the "worm lady".

Many times we give it all we've got and do outstanding jobs at something, thinking we are really making an impact.....and we might be.  BUT.....it's been my experience that, many times it's the little things that people remember the most; the things that seem so small.

Also....it always amazes me (and it really shouldn't) how God always GETS IT RIGHT.  He led Bro Randy into inviting Roger................neither of them had a clue as to the connections that we would discover once we were there.  We have known them for seven years, but when pastors and wives get together at the retreat, we discuss our church but rarely name names..........

Homecomings.............wow....what a time to reflect on the past, on the present and on the future!